Monday, July 15, 2024

How to Usher in Louisiana’s Roaring 2020s

by BIZ Magazine

Gifford Briggs
Louisiana Oil and Gas Association

The Roaring 20’s were a time of unprecedented economic prosperity in America. A century has since passed. Can Louisiana and its oil and gas industry experience roaring economic prosperity once more?

Let’s take a look. One hundred years later, our nation’s economy is booming. Unemployment is at record lows, the stock market is at record highs, and it seems that everywhere you look, President Trump’s business acumen has acted like a shot of adrenaline for America.

Energy producers are no exception. Reforms of rules and regulations that had previously hindered industry growth have expanded offshore drilling, streamlined the pipeline permitting process, and made the United States an oil and gas powerhouse once again.

Is that federal leadership enough to usher in a roaring 20’s decade for our state?

Considering our natural blessings, we are well-positioned for prosperity. Louisiana’s trifecta of oil and gas assets are a case in point. First is Louisiana’s natural gas giant: The Haynesville Shale. Recently Louisiana’s northwest formation had the second-highest new-well gas production per rig in the nation. Our abundant resources don’t stop there – we are also home to assets in the Gulf of Mexico and vast resources ready to be tapped in South Louisiana.

Secondly, the Bayou State has a strong and expansive pipeline infrastructure. Pipelines are the safest, most secure way to transport product across vast distances. New York is now facing pricing, employment, and development woes simply because they do not have the pipeline capacity or willingness to move resources.

Finally, our LNG export capacity is a strength unique to our state: instead of simply refining natural gas, we now liquefy and export it all over the globe. LSU’s Center for Energy Studies estimates that Louisiana’s LNG projects could total nearly $100 billion in capital investment, potentially ushering in 20,000 construction jobs and 1,500 full-time jobs at Louisiana terminals once completed.

These three key assets have positioned Louisiana to play a defining role in the United States’ move toward permanent energy independence in the global market, but considering our current realities more must be done on a state level by Louisiana leadership to enable our oil and gas industry to succeed.

South Louisiana energy activity continues to lag behind energy-producing regions all over the country. Our toxic legal environment and tax structure have crippled investment, taking Louisiana families away from the state in droves. It is time we bring them back.

But how?

We can learn from other oil and gas producing states. Our Lone Star neighbor has undertaken strategic, long term measures to fix its’ legal and regulatory framework, and they now boast a simpler tax environment. As a result, they have experienced steady investment both inside and outside of the oil and gas industry, and families all over the nation are becoming newly adopted Texans.

Perhaps we are learning from our prospering neighbors and will experience that decade of strong Louisiana growth. In the gall of 2019, Louisiana voters sent a strong message to the capitol that we want bold action for a better Louisiana. It’s time for change.

This newly elected body of legislators has the momentum and vision necessary to tackle substantive reforms. They have the potential to put an end to the rampant lawsuit abuse that has put a moratorium on oil and gas investment and turned Louisiana communities into ghost towns. They have the potential to transform our tax structure, making it fairer, more competitive, and attractive to outside businesses. They have the potential to get Louisiana’s oil and gas industry roaring again.

LOGA sees great opportunities arising and is optimistic about what is possible in the coming year. From the 4th floor to the House and Senate floors, we are looking forward to working with everyone to create the nation’s leading oil and gas industry and ushering in Louisiana’s very own roaring 2020s.

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